More April stoppages than listed

Published: Saturday, 28 May 2022

I HAVE to put my hand up and say that I was wrong, writes Allan Richards.

I apologise to narrowboatworld readers for saying that Canal & River Trust had 29 'new' stoppages in April (549 days lost to stoppages in April). The 549 days lost to stoppages in April is correct but the 29 new stoppages is not.

It was not until I realised that narrowboatworld contributors had given figures of both 30 days and 29 days that I realised that both could not be true.

37 'new' stoppages in April

On the 2nd May 2022, narrowboatworld stated that C&RT's waterways suffered 29 'new' stoppages during April. On 4th May, John Coxon gave the same figure as 30. However, my program that counts the number of stoppages on a daily basis also records details of those stoppages (including start date). It was only a few moments work to write what computer programmers call a 'one liner' (i.e. a simple program) to calculate the correct figure.

The number of stoppages with a start date in April 2022 was 37!

I guess that others are dependent on C&RT stoppage emails being sent to them and that C&RT is not sending this information out in all cases. Alternatively, if calculating from C&RT's database, it will be because some information is removed after a stoppage ends.

Five in a single day?

Having disagreed with other contributors, I have to agree with Keith Gudgin regarding five new closures in a single day in May. Just after midday on 17th May, C&RT's database was showing 18 closures as measured by a test run of my program. By 21:00 (my program's normal daily run time) it was showing 23.

Sadly, revelations regarding C&RT's failure to maintain its waterways leading to increasing closures are too late to influence governments future funding decision due by 1st July.

Under C&RT's grant agreement with Defra, signed ten years ago, it is obliged to publish number and duration of towpath closures each year.

Why did Defra not require C&RT to do the same for navigation closures?